Monday, February 11, 2008

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. "The New New Philosophy [on Experimental Ethics]." NEW YORK TIMES December 9, 2007.

Can you really do philosophy with clipboards and questionnaires? It seems that you can. Joshua Knobe, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is the philosopher who investigated how people responded to those two stories about the company chairman. (Full disclosure: I examined him on his dissertation.) You might have supposed that whether we judge an action to be (say) blameworthy depends on whether we think it was intentional, and the nature of intentional action is something philosophers have had plenty to say about. But the so-called Knobe effect suggests that — oddly enough — it may not be clear to us whether an action is intentional until we’ve decided whether it’s good or bad. . . . Read the rest here:

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